Dan Emmons and his attorney, William Norful, met with Superintendent David Young and school district legal representatives last week to discuss the order and to ask it be lifted. Norful wrote in an email last Thursday that the no-trespass order was no longer in effect.
“I want to be sensitive to Mr. Emmons,” said Young prior to the meeting. “I’m very sensitive to parents and community members who want to access school activities.”
South Burlington Police officer Andrew Traynor issued the no trespass order to Emmons, according to a copy of the ticket supplied to VT Digger by Norful. The Winooski attorney and South Burlington Police Chief Trevor Whipple supplied records about the citations.
The no trespass order covered South Burlington High School, Tuttle Middle School, Rick Marcotte Central School, Orchard School and Chamberlin School, and was in effect for the school day and all school-sponsored events.
In a letter to Emmons, Young said he decided to seek a no-trespass order after he learned that the South Burlington Police Department issued Emmons a citation for “stalking” a South Burlington student and “disturbing the peace by use of electronic communications.” “Student safety is always our primary concern,” Young wrote to Emmons.
The letter also imposed three conditions, detailing steps Emmons must follow before stepping foot on school district property. He was told he can’t interact with the student connected with the police citation when the two are on school grounds and at school events.
Emmons must act in a “respectful and appropriate manner when interacting with all students, school personnel and other community members” while he is on school grounds and at school events.
The last condition cited in the letter pointed out that barring an emergency, Emmons must notify Young 24 hours in advance when Emmons plans on being present on school grounds and at school events so Young can arrange to have a school resource officer present.
Norful didn’t respond to comment on the conditions the school district imposed on Emmons.
“To be clear, the presence of a school resource officer is for everyone’s safety. As you shared that you have received threats from other community members related to the citation,” Young wrote to Emmons.
Norful criticized the no trespass order, saying that Emmons has the right to free speech. “He (Emmons) is the wrong ideological persuasion for the South Burlington School District. You can’t throw someone out of the local school district because you don’t like them.”
Emmons got news the order was lifted the same day South Burlington voters rejected a revised school budget for the second time in as many months.
Young said he initially asked for the no trespass order to “preserve the safety of staff and students.” Late last month, Emmons received a citation from South Burlington Police, charging he harassed a student.
Those charges stem from an ongoing debate about the Rebel nickname. Opponents of the name say it is racist because of its link with the Confederacy. The school board voted two months ago to change the name.
Emmons is opposed to the name change.
Meanwhile, Norful said Emmons received a threatening electronic message from Taylor Cook. That left Emmons “in fear, and has caused him significant distress, considering the imminent risk of harm and serious injury.”
Emmons took a screen shot of the alleged threat, forwarding it to Norful. According to the information provided by Norful Cook allegedly told Emmons, “Hey fuckwit, wanna tangle with a grown-ass man instead of threatening teenagers? I’ll put brass through your fucking skull before you can call yr (your) racist friends defending a fucked up name for help.”
Norful said Emmons reported the profanity-laced comment to South Burlington Police April 1.
Whipple declined to comment on whether an investigation by police into the alleged threat was occurring. Last week, Norful contacted Whipple about the matter. “I presume that your department is free of political bias, and therefore I expect that this matter will be handled as enthusiastically as the attention given to the complaints against Mr. Emmons,” Norful wrote.
According to the citation Emmons received from police, he is slated to appear in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington Thursday at 8:30 a.m. to answer charges on the original citation.